Our Family’s Sugar Fast

I have debated whether or not to blog our family’s sugar fast. But, here goes….

Our Family's Sugar Fast

For the next six weeks or so, I’m going to be working to eliminate beet, cane, corn, and artificial sweeteners from our diet. (Honey and maple syrup/sugar are allowed as are the “sugars” naturally occurring in food God invented.)

Basically what this means is that for this to work, I’ll need to be on my toes in terms of meal planning, baking, and meal prep. No fast food because I don’t have a better plan. I’m hoping that as a family we’ll develop some favorite recipes that are just as fun without being junky.

I’m not really sure how this thing will go down. We are currently going through a gallon of milk every day! I tried to make up several batches of these Fruit and Nut Energy Bites and these Cocoa Apricot Cashew Bites, but the kids ate both batches within two days. Needless to say, I’ve got some planning and strategizing to do, sugar or not.

Tonight we celebrated with a homemade ice cream cake. I could probably make it again with honey or maple. But, part of the challenge is to see if we can be satisfied with fewer sweets not more “legal” substitutes.

Another wrinkle is hockey season. FishBoy9 pointed that out today. For him it means foregoing those really awful snacks that they have after a game. Some parents bring bananas and clementines and water bottles. Others bring donuts and twinkies and gatorade. He had a great attitude as we talked about all this and discussed our options. I offered to trade him for healthier treats or to buy them back from him. His suggestion was that he stockpile them for six weeks and then gorge himself at Easter.

We settled on my buying a bunch of fun snacks that weren’t sugared and that I’d give him those instead of a team snack that doesn’t fit our sugar fast.

To answer the question if this is related to Lent: yes and no. We are believers in Jesus Christ and we look at Lent as a time to reflect and remember what Christ did for us on the cross. Hopefully, we remember this every day, but Lent is a great opportunity to talk to my kids about this in a more intentional way.

We do not belong to a Christian faith that requires Lenten observations, but we have good friends who fast in some way each year. Their example has been a good one for our whole family. I don’t want to overspiritualize what we are doing, especially since I know we won’t be able to do it perfectly, but I do hope that it will be good for each one of us, both physically as well as spiritually.

I’ll be recording my random, stream-of-consciousness reflections and observations here.

Day 1

Girl with Juice copy


About a year and a half ago, I bought a juicer. I had such a glut of fruit from the produce box, I felt bad when it was going to waste. Since then the kids and I have experimented with all kinds of different combinations of juice. I took a hiatus from juicing over the holidays since I wanted the counter space for other things. In the new year, my kids started asking when I was going to make juice again.

We’re back in the swing of things. For the last month or so, we’ve been juicing several times a week, mixing carrots with a variety of different fruits and vegetables. It’s been a great way to use up the butternut squash I knew my family wouldn’t eat.

Today I juiced a bunch of carrots and mixed it with unsweetened pineapple juice that I already had in the fridge. It was a risk, but everyone liked it except that girl in the picture. But, she’s got a bad case of “I’m the baby, so I should be able to have my way” right now. I made her drink it anyway.

For juice recipes that are FishKid-tested, FishMama-approved, buy my new book, Best 100 Juices for Kids.

Sugar-free breakfast

As you know, breakfast foods can be full of added sugars. I know that even my homebaked quick breads and muffins often have a fair amount of sugar. Over the weekend, I made two batches of Not Too Sweet Granola. I made one with honey and one with maple syrup. We had this for breakfast along with strawberries, plain yogurt, and Trader Joe’s Shreaded Wheat. Its only ingredient is wheat.


Sandwich Bar

Earlier in the week, one of my boys peeled about 5 pounds of carrots. He did this for me last week as well. What a time savings it is! We store the carrots in plastic containers with water. I can pull them out for juicing or to make carrot sticks or to use in recipes. It really speeds things up. While baby carrots can fill this role as well, whole carrots are cheaper per pound.

I left out a huge bowl of carrot sticks for munching all day. We had these with lunch along with the Sour Cream Dill Dip. (Packaged mixes are expensive and have a ton of junk including added sugar, so we win on two counts by making the dip ourselves.)

FishPapa came home for lunch, bringing baguettes with him. It’s possible that the French bakery uses a scant amount of sugar in their baguette. But, I’m choosing not to ask. I laid out a sandwich bar with salami and cheese, with carrots on the side.

(The salami does have dextrose, but it is really hard to find cured meats that don’t have added sugar. Once it’s gone, I won’t buy more for this season, but I’m not going to sweat it too much. And I’m definitely not going to make my own salami. Ha!)

For “lunch dessert”, somewhat of a tradition at our house, I cut up a Larabar for folks to see if they like the flavor. It was the Cherry Cobbler flavor which is only dates, almonds, and unsweetened cherries. I’m hunting down dates so that I can make my own.


Raisin Bread copy

Honey-Sweetened Raisin Bread from the Bread Machine

FishChick is learning how to use the bread machine this week. This is her second loaf that she’s created. It’s only sweetened with honey and raisins. This Honey-Sweetened Raisin Bread from the Bread Machine is what we snacked on in the afternoon.


Tortillas on griddle

FishPapa and the girls made Homemade Corn Tortillas for dinner. Many commercial tortillas have sugar in them, would you believe it? Our favorite brand lists dextrose as a preservative which makes sense. Good thing we like homemade better.

I made Mexican Rice, broiled chicken, and a cabbage salad.

Movie Snack

The littles made buttered popcorn to munch on during our movie night. (Well, sort of movie night. We have a TV pass to a couple shows, Agents of SHIELD being one of them. Last night we watched the most recent episode.)

So, there you have it. One day, sugar free (mostly — the salami was minor, right?). Just going to take this one day at a time.

Day 2


Scrambled eggs (I made mine Greek), toast, apple slices

Morning Treat

girls and Honey Lemonade copy

We have a ton of frozen lemon juice, so we made honey-sweetened lemonade, subbing honey for the sugar in our favorite lemonade recipe. It was the girls’ idea to add the lemon slices to their glasses. They are way fancier than I am.

Chicken Fried Rice 3


We had lots of leftover rice in the fridge, so I made Chicken Fried Rice. Recipe coming soon. I used honey instead of sugar for the scant amount it calls for.

Afternoon Snack

FishChick7 made bread again, a whole-grain honey bread. The kids had this for snack with butter and all-fruit jam.


Pasilla Enchiladas

We had leftover Homemade Corn Tortillas from the previous night. I made Poblano Chile Enchiladas and served black beans, rice, and cabbage salad for sides.

Evening Snack

We made popcorn again. We use a Presto air popper. We’ve had it for years. I think I’ve successfully weaned my kids from microwave popcorn. Hallelujah. I order cases of Bob’s Red Mill popcorn from Amazon via Subscribe and Save.

All in all, the day went well. Two days done.

Day 3

This morning I took the littles to the store with me. FishBoy9 was a little glum that I wasn’t buying all the cookies and sugared cereals. But, honestly? That’s no different than any other time. He just doesn’t realize that this really isn’t a huge leap for us. His biggest brother tried to point this out to him: what we’ve been eating is not all that different than other times.

Except that we’ve gone through 2 bottles of honey in a week.


Eggs, Bacon, Toast, and Fruit

Yes, the bacon has sugar of some kind in it. But, sugar-free bacon is almost impossible to find. When you can get it, it’s hugely expensive. So, we just won’t have it that often. I felt FishBoy9 needed some cheering up, though.


We had leftovers and fruit for lunch. Nothing too terribly exciting.


Burrito night instead of pizza because we had lots of tortillas to use and I had some recipes to test. Did you know that tortillas made without sugar fall apart? At least that was the case tonight. My favorite kind of burrito tortilla is from Costco, made by Porkyland. Yes, really. But, those have sugar added. So, I bought Trader Joe’s. And now I remember why I don’t buy Trader Joe’s.


I made a batch of honey-sweetened oatmeal raisin cookies. I also used only whole wheat pastry flour. We’re just gonna give those taste buds a run for their money!

They aren’t terribly sweet, but they aren’t horrible either. I think I could tweak them a bit and make a better cookie. We shall see. This month may make a raisin fan out of me.

Days 4 and 5

We spent Saturday and Sunday up Santa Barbara way, staying one night with friends and one night with the grandparents. Both hostesses were extremely accommodating to my wild ideas.

Before we left home, we had toast, fruit, coffee, and milk. I packed a lot of snacks for the road, so second breakfast included larabars (for the parents), pirates booty for the kids, cuties, bananas, rice cakes, water, and applesauce pouches.

For lunch we had sandwiches, chips, fruit and those oatmeal cookies I made. For dinner, it was a smorgasbord of recipes I’m recipe testing. Yes, I have such good friends that they let me cook up experiments at their house.

On Sunday we had waffles (recipe on lifeasmom.com) and maple syrup and a rousing discussion on the cost of maple syrup. The best price I’ve found is 50 cents an ounce at Trader Joe’s.

Before we headed to the grandparents’ we stopped at TJ’s where I gave each child a spending allowance for unsweetened snacks. They had a blast choosing whatever they wanted and learning where the hidden sugar is.

We snacked on said items: dried fruit, larabars, chips, juice, and hummus.

For lunch we had burgers made at home, no ketchup. Dinner was pasta with wild boar meat bolognese. Yes really. We also had Brie, baguette, and salad.

For dessert, we had maple-sweetened whipped cream, strawberries, and pie crust cookies. Grampa wasn’t impressed, but the rest of us enjoyed it.

For two days away from home, we did okay. We packed snacks and tried to be careful. The downfalls were, of course, cured meats and commercial breads. I didn’t think about those things to bring alternatives, so We just didn’t make a big deal out of it. But now we know for next time.

As with my whole 30 last year, it’s a sign that this may not be sustainable for our family if we can’t easily source those kinds of items.

Day 6

I’m lagging in my updates. A long weekend away will do that to you. Here’s the short and sweet recap:


We ate with the grandparents. Grampa made eggs and bacon to serve along croissants. Both the bacon and the croissants had added sugar, but we knew we might face that going in.


We stopped at a favorite restaurant along the 405: Stonefire Grill. We had salad, tri-tip, breadsticks, and pizza. I’m sure the breads had sugar, but again, that’s a hard thing to avoid.


Once home, I got my bearings, took a nap, and ran to the grocery store. We had Grilled Chicken Taco Salads for dinner.

Day 7


Not Too Sweet Granola, Trader Joe’s Shredded Wheat, milk, fruit,

chopped plates


The big boys were gone at lunch. They packed leftover chicken and tri-tip as well as cheese sticks, fruit, and rice cakes for their lunch.

At home, the littles played a real life game of Chopped. They love this. I give them three common ingredients, in this case: hard cooked egg, a slice of bread, and a hunk of cheddar. I also lay out a limited pantry for them to draw from. This is what they made! They are amazing.

Guinness Beef Stew - Homemade beef stew is homey and comforting. It's also so easy to make, you'll wonder why anyone would think to ruin it in a can.


For dinner we had Guinness Beef Stew, Irish Soda Bread, and Dubliner Cheese. It was super yummy. I may or may not have sneaked a bite of Larabar as a dessert.

Obviously, over our weekend away there were added sugars that it was harder or more awkward to avoid since we were guests. Now that we’re home, we have a little bit more control.

I’ve written a pretty in-depth meal plan and am looking for shortcuts to make our meals healthier. Reading through Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss is really giving me more motivation to keep this up. It’s opening my eyes to so many things that I’ve been blind to.

Day 8


We started off the day with homemade juice: pears, carrots, and a beet. Then the kids had Yogurt Granola Parfaits with berries from the freezer. The granola is almost gone so I need to find a good deal on oats so I can make more. I made some Greek Eggs for myself.


Salad Bar

At midday I made a big salad bar with vegetables, chick peas, and cooked chicken.


For dinner we had turkey meatloaf (recipe coming soon), rice pilaf with orzo, asparagus, and salad.


We ate buttered popcorn again while we watched SHIELD.

I found a recipe for chocolate chips made with honey today. I may consider trying that out, just so we can have a little chocolate here and there. Either that or make brownies. Jury’s still out.

Day 9



I played with a new waffle recipe. It had buttermilk and white cornmeal, sweetened with a bit of maple syrup. I’m probably going to make it again tomorrow to see if we can up the corn flavor a bit without making it too crunchy. There’s none left, so I think it went over well. I might see if we’ve got blueberries hiding somewhere and see how those go over inside the batter.


I was off at an appointment at regular lunch time so the kids had a snack at noon. I stopped at Trader Joe’s on my way home to replenish our stores. No milk, eggs, or bread means I need to go to the store.

Trader Joe's mid March

When I came home I made Lawnmower Taco while munching on carrots and hummus. I filled up on that so I didn’t have much casserole. Good thing, because there wasn’t enough for me!


It was supposed to be date night, but hubs threw out his back earlier this week and just wasn’t feeling up to going out. I made some freezer burritos, cooking some, freezing most. The kids decided they wanted quesadillas instead. And that was it for our day. So far, so good.

Day 10

I’m finding more hidden sugar I hadn’t thought of: children’s vitamins. Ugh. I imagine there’s some crunchy health brand out there, but there we are, another thing with a load of sweet. Ugh.

On the plus side, as long as we eat at home, this isn’t too tough. Granted, I’m back to reading more labels than I ever did previously, but that’s a good change.

veg stirfry with sausage


Since I was at the gym for the regular breakfast time, the kids and hubs had toast and cereal. Trader Joe’s crumpets are sugar-free so they had those, too. When I came home I made a vegetable stirfry with Aidell’s Chicken-Apple Sausage (no added sugar, thank you very much). The sausage is pretty sweet for being fruit-sweetened, so not everyone likes it.

homemade mayo

homemade mayonnaise


Last year during the Whole 30 I experimented with homemade mayonnaise. I found a combination of techniques and ingredients that I really like. It still makes me fell like a miracle worker each time I make it. I had it break once and that was an utter disaster.

Since commercial mayonnaise has a lot of extra ingredients:


including sugar, making my own is a fun alternative with a huge rockstar factor mixed in. A jar of mayonnaise is convenient, but these days it’s also really expensive. I buy Safe Eggs and then don’t worry about the salmonella risk.

tuna sand

Anyway, all that to say, we had tuna salad sandwiches for lunch with carrots and olives.


Since it was Pi Day, I brainstormed a honey-sweetened pie idea. I made cherry since we had the frozen cherries already. I cooked the filling on the stove top and poured it into a baked pie crust. The filling wasn’t as thick as I would have liked, so I’m going to have to make it again. Darn.

pi day

FishChick5 helped make the crust.

Before we ate pie and honey-whipped cream, we had a simple pasta dinner with both chard and green bean side dishes.

Like I said, if we eat at home, this is not that hard to do.

Day 11

I came to the realization that if unhealthy food is cheap, we will tend to eat more of it. Of course, you knew that already. But, the flip side of it is that if the unhealthy (non-nutritive) food is expensive, we will eat less of it. This is the case when it comes to sweeteners. At least at our house.

You see, sugar is way cheaper than honey or maple. I get very liberal with my sugar. Remember one-tablespoon-in-the-coffee girl? That was me. But honey and maple are so much more expensive (about 50cents per ounce), that I am much more motivated to be conservative in using it up.

It’s a build in control on my sweet treat making. Sure, we can make brownies, cakes, and cookies with honey or maple syrup, but they’ll be pricier than their sugar cane counterparts. That means it really better be worth it to spend the cash. So, see? There’s a good reason to spending more on food.

I’m guessing the same philosophy applies to quality meats, cheese, and other ingredients. You’ll be sparing with things if they are expensive. You will waste less. It’s just hard to make that leap to a higher quality because then you have to work a little to make sure you use things up before they spoil. Hmmm…. Just some food for thought.

whipped cream waffle


This morning I made another batch of waffles, using the same recipe as the other day. I tweaked it by using corn flour instead of corn meal. Found it on clearance at Sprouts. I’m not sure that the corn taste was strong enough, so we’ll have to make them again soon.

I sweetened the cream with honey and FishChick7 sliced strawberries for us.



Before our hockey game, I baked a batch of whole wheat hamburger buns. We’re out of unbleached flour. The rolls weren’t as light and fluffy as they are when I make it with unbleached flour, but it was still tasty.

We had burgers and carrots for lunch.


Snacks were varied: potato chips, crackers, fruit, cheese sticks, part of a Larabar.


For dinner we had chicken quesadillas and fruit salad.

Can’t believe we’ve already finished 11 days! That’s pretty wild.

Day 12

This weekend has just flown by! I’m not quite ready for Monday but I got a meal plan going and did the shopping. Walmart on a Sunday at 5pm? Not my favorite. But, we’re set to eat well this week.

Walmart is kind of my necessary evil: household items and cheap staples like canned beans and baking stuff which we sorely needed.



I made Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes today, subbing honey for the brown sugar I normally add. The bananas add a bit of extra sweetness as does the big jug of maple syrup. Yes, I see the irony. But I also ration these people, especially at fifty cents an ounce.

I also made some scrambled egg sandwiches in leftover buns from yesterday.

Chicken and Salad


I had planned to make oven fried chicken strips for lunch until I saw that the second ingredient in the panko was sugar. Ugh. I switched to potato chip-crusted chicken which was good, but not great. It’s s salad bar with that.


Hubs and I each grabbed burritos from the freezer in the afternoon since we weren’t super hungry at lunch.


There was rice to be used up so I made vegetable fried rice, based on this recipe as well as a chicken and vegetable stir fry and plain rice.

Day 13

This day sped by, so here’s an equally speedy update.


The kids had Shredded Wheat cereal, milk, and fruit while I had leftover Chinese from last night.


We had leftover chicken and burgers with salads and fruit.


I baked a double batch of Irish Soda bread, mixing in currants. It was delicious with butter.


Hubs and I went out for date night. The kids had Alfredo Pasta and carrots.

Day 14


jam and toast

I took the lazy way out of breakfast: toast, butter, and jam with milk and fruit on the side. I found all-fruit jams on sale at a froofy grocery store by my inlaws. I stocked up.


I did some recipe testing/experimenting for my cookbook project, making a couple different chicken dishes.


confetti chili

Dinner was another experiment. I’m calling it Confetti Chili. Isn’t that pretty?

After dinner I attempted to make a double batch of granola. I made one with the last of the maple syrup and was about to make a second with honey, only to find that the jar of honey appeared to have been tampered with. Ugh. The only thing worse than shopping at Walmart is having to return something to Walmart. I tried to make the second batch by using pineapple juice as a sweetener. That was a massive fail.

The maple batch? I burned that one. So double fail on the granola front.

Day 15

We’re more than a third of the way done. So far, so good. We only have issues when we run out of maple and honey and burn all the granola. Ahem.


yogurt parfait

Some of the granola was salvageable. We had yogurt parfaits with berries from the freezer, unsweetened plain yogurt, and granola.


Again with the chicken dish experiments.


ABC Soup copy

I made ABC Vegetable Soup, just like when I was a kid, only this was homemade instead of canned.

Day 15 is over. We’re almost halfway done.

Day 16

Buttermilk Corn Waffles with Honey Butter copy


We had waffles again. FishBoy9 was thrilled. We were out of maple syrup so we used honey on these Buttermilk Corn Waffles.


I pulled burritos from the freezer. Easy peasy.


Individual Meatloaves, Rice and Orzo Pilaf, Tossed Salad

Day 17

juicing girl


Banana Whole Wheat Pancakes, Strawberries, and freshly squeezed OJ


FishPapa called and asked us to meet him for lunch. So we met him at Chipotle. I figured that there might be some sugar in the tortillas, but I checked just now and no, there isn’t. That’s pretty amazing.


I made a meat ragu, pasta, polenta, and a salad.

FishPapa went to Costco for us and got dates and maple syrup. I got more oats at Sprouts, so tomorrow it’s time to do some baking.

Day 18

homemade juice


Homemade juice, eggs, toast


Lawnmower Taco, Burritos, Cumin-Scented Cabbage Salad


Homemade Pizza, Caesar Salad

Day 19

cinnamon rolls


Cinnamon Rolls (used this recipe except omitted the glaze and used Date Sugar that Bob sent me), Fresh fruit, cereal, milk


Grilled Cheese, carrot sticks, sugar snap peas


Tri-tip Steaks, Stuffed Potatoes, Caesar Salad

Day 20

Green Burrito

I forgot to post Day 20?! We’re halfway done and we’re doing just fine. It helps that I made a big batch of Mamabars (that’s what the kids are calling my version of Larabars) and Fruit and Nut Energy Bites. We each have a small square/ball after lunch or dinner and that seems to be keeping the sweet cravings in check.


Not Too Sweet Granola, Trader Joe’s Shredded Wheat Cereal, plain yogurt, milk, frozen fruit


Burritos made with homemade pintos (recipes coming soon)


Pasta with Leftover Meat Sauce and Salad

Day 21

Chopped for Kids 3


Fend for yourself = Not Too Sweet Granola or Trader Joe’s Shredded Wheat Cereal, toast


Another day of Chopped for Kids since the big boys had science class all day. The littles love this! The pantry didn’t have very interesting things, but they started out with a string cheese, a small portion of potato chips, and a handful of baby carrots. I love how creative they get!


Chicken Sandwiches and Salad

Day 22

I just posted a halfway-through update on the main page. You can check out my observations so far, here.

yogurt parfait


FishBoy11 made eggs for him and the littles. I had a yogurt parfait.


I made a shrimp chowder for lunch and served it with baguette and Brie. Rocking awesome.

Until FishBoy9 threw up. It was an hour or two after lunch. He complained of a headache and then threw up. That wasn’t so much fun.


Since I wasn’t sure if the earlier illness was a migraine or a bug, I chose to make a pretty simple dinner: chicken noodle soup.

Day 23

go to salad


Skillet Eggs for me; Cereal for the kids.


Go to Salad for me; Grilled cheese sandwiches for the kids


Alfredo Pasta; Tomato-Brie Pasta; Steamed Broccoli

Day 24 through Day 26

Major fail – forgot to write down Friday through Sunday – OOPS! And now, I can’t remember what we had! I know that Sunday we met out of town friends for lunch so we cheated that day having pizza at Pizza Port. Other than that, we’ve played by the rules. We had Cheese Enchiladas Sunday night, I know that.

Day 27


Banana Pancakes, Fruit


Chicken Sandwiches, Egg Sandwiches, Veggie Dippers


Quick Meat Sauce, Penne Pasta, Broccoli, Asparagus

Day 28


Cereal, toast, apples


Sunbutter sandwiches, carrots for kids; Velvety Vegetable Soup for mom


Jambalaya Rice with Chicken, Green Beans

Day 29


Fend for yourself (We’re out of granola again, and I’m tired.)


Aidell’s Chicken Sausage, Salad


Baked Chicken, Oven Fries, Salad

Movie snack for SHIELD

Popcorn and apple chips

Day 30


Breakfast Bar with Toast, Yogurt, Berries, Oranges, Bananas, Shredded Wheat, and Milk


Fend for yourself


Quesadillas, Fruit

Day 31

Meatloaf night


Cinnamon Coffeecake (made with date sugar) and Fruit


Chicken and Salad


Meatloaf, Baked Rice, Green Beans, and Salad

Day 32

Chili Bean Soup


Spicy Turkey Egg Bake, Fruit


Chili Bean Soup (recipe coming), Cornbread (recipe coming), Salad


Pizza Night!

Day 33

Taco Night


Fend for yourself: toast, cereal, yogurt


Home Fries and Eggs


Cheese Enchiladas, Taco Bar, Homemade Salsa, Healthier Refried Beans, Salad

Day 34


Cereal, granola, yogurt, fruit


Leftovers: Tacos, Beans, Chili, Veggies


We went to see Captain America (no movie food, just trail mix) and then had dinner at In-N-Out Burger. No ketchup or sauce, though the buns and fries probably had a bit of sugar. But, it was a fun family outing that called for some treat.

Day 35


Banana Pancakes, Fruit


Picnic at Legoland: Egg Plus Salad Sandwiches, Maple-Sweetened Brownies, Fruit

(We did cheat and get Apple Fries as a treat since we only go to Legoland once every few years.)


Grilled Chicken, Pasta Salad, Green Salad, Potato Salad

Day 36


Scrambled Eggs, Toast, Sauteed Veg, Fruit




Grilled Tri-tip, Pasta Salad, Green Salad

Day 37


Oatmeal and Strawberries and Cream


Treat at Rubios after running errands


Grilled Fish, Rice, Salad

Day 38


Oatmeal and toppings


Quesadillas, fruit


Chicken Noodle Soup, Toast

Day 39


Cereal, Granola, Yogurt


Mexibar with Enchiladas and Burritos


Pizza Night

Day 40


Fried Eggs and Toast


Tuna Salad and Grilled Sandwiches, Veggies


Quick Meat Sauce for Pasta, Polenta and Pasta, Caesar Salad

Day 41

Chocolate Cupcakes No Sugar






Maple and Honey Sweetened Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe coming)


Date night for parents, “Breakfast” for kids

Day 42

Can you tell that I’m running out of steam? I’m so busy, I just don’t have time to be super creative or take lots of great pictures. This is real life.


Breakfast Bar


Pasta Salad, Fruit and Veg


Chicken and Rice

Day 43


Eggs, Toast, Fruit


Hands-free Cashew Chicken, Rice


Grilled Fish, Salad, Rice

Day 44


Pancakes, Fruit


Potato-Leek Quiche, Leftovers


Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Day 45


Popovers, Jam, Fruit




Chicken Strips, Salad, Rolls, and Sweet Potatoes


  1. Angela says

    I am really looking forward to reading about this. I have recently been introduced to coconut sugar. Which camp would you out this under (refined or honey/maple sugar)?

    • I’ve not ever purchased it; it’s always been way too expensive. However, this article helped me see how it might not be a market I want to support. https://www.tropicaltraditions.com/coconut_palm_sugar.htm I’m sure there are other opposing viewpoints. However, I’ve worked with this company before and liked their products. The reasoning makes sense to me. So, I’m sticking with the honey and maple for now. I personally like demerara sugar, but trying to see if we can live without it. There’s just a fine line between that and jumping back into brown sugar. I don’t plan to completely cut out sugar; I guess I’ll take one day at a time. LOL

      • Angela says

        That makes sense. I have actually never purchased it just eaten it in other people’s baked goods. Thanks for the research! I think I will also just stick to other things after reading that.

  2. I am so excited about this journey! My 11 year old son is a sugar addict. I am trying to eliminate sugar in the environment I can control and not obsess about what I can’t control. Like a true addict, he does not believe he has a problem. I just want to help him be healthier. I believe sugar causes inflammation and joint pain among other things. I know you will have some great recipes and I cannot wait to make them!!!

    • Thanks, Jen. It is such a hard thing since there is sugar in so many, many things, even savory foods. I think it’s going to be a hard month, honestly.

  3. Kate Grantham says

    This is so timely for me! I just checked out the book “21 Day Sugar Detox” from the library and am preparing for my own sugar fast. I hope you will share any recipes that help your family through the cravings.

    • I flipped through that when I saw it at Costco. Isn’t that a low/no carb fast? From looking at the recipes, that’s what I gathered.

      • Kate says

        Sorry for the delay in replying; I had to read more of the book to figure out the answer! Yes, low gluten-free carbs/no carbs on the 21-Day Sugar Detox. Eliminating processed foods would take care of most of that, but it’s still challenging for me!

  4. Leigh says

    I’m excited you are doing this. I’ve been working the last few months on doing this (though not perfectly, but making headway nonetheless). It kills me to see sugar in all kinds of things you would not expect. In baked good I used to cut half the fat with applesauce, etc and my neighbor a few years ago used to keep the fat and cut the sugar in half and I thought she was crazy…5 years later I’m beginning to see the “light”. Its amazing when you’ve detoxed from sugar how sweet everyday foods become especially fruit. And I found when I had sugar (for a birthday) I got a headache. I’m excited to see what recipes you share. Good luck, I’m rooting for you!

    • I wish applesauce wasn’t so expensive. I was hoping to sub that for some sugar. We did make a sugar-free banana bread. That seemed to go over fine. The kids ate it without complaint, anyway. Ha!

  5. Teresa says

    You can do it! My husband and I went completely sugar free February 1st (even natural and fruit) on the first of March all 6 of our kids (16-11) went sugar free, but not fruit/carb free….they weren’t super excited, but have been doing great 🙂 I’ve already noticed better attitudes

  6. Sarah in Alaska says

    Oh, please do share. I’m not looking to eliminate sugar totally, but I do think reading about your fast will help me better know what has added sugar and how to cook with alternatives (I’ve done a little with honey, but not with maple). And besides, I’m always on the lookout for new recipes and ideas.

  7. I just talked to my husband tonight about reducing sugar in our diet. I’m trying it first on myself…and then we’ll spread to the rest of the fam, I think. 😉

  8. Sarah in Alaska says

    How do your kids feel about unsweetened yogurt. I’d like to make the switch, but am scared…plain is just so sour. Does the granola and fruit really help?

    • I made that switch a few years ago. They don’t “love” it. It takes some getting used to. The full fat plain yogurts taste better than the nonfat. They are less tart for some reason. But, with enough fruit, granola, or jam, it’s very doable. But, again, it takes some time to get used to it.

      • Brighid says

        If I remember right from making homemade yogurt, nonfat yogurt takes longer to set up than full fat milk yogurt. And the longer you let the yogurt cultures work to set up your milk, the tangier it gets.

      • Angela says

        I like to put just a small amount of honey,maple syrup, or homemade sugarless berry or pear sauce on mine and it does make a difference.

        • I love it that way, but the kids are slow to warm to it. Berries usually works, and sometimes honey or maple. But they are pretty fickle about it. That’s okay, though, I’m not buying the other kind.

    • We switched from flavored yogurt to plain about 2 months ago. I have gotten a little “looks” but my son still thinks its his favorite breakfast with “crunchy” (granola) on top. I do notice not all brands taste the same – so maybe do a taste test and see which brand you like the best. There are some sour ones. Honey helps. Granola helps (usually is sweetened by honey or maple syrup). I agree with the above comment that the full fat tastes better than the nonfat – because companies use sugar to replace fat in many cases – but to keep it plain they don’t so it just gets extremely bitter. Don’t give up. I buy a couple bags of frozen fruits/berries at a time. After shopping I let my son pick what kind of yogurt he wants. I throw the large container of yogurt in my food processor with whatever package of berry/fruit he picked and then I just scoop it back in the regular container and he has breakfast for the week 🙂 Easy, Fast, and way less sugar and cheaper than buying the individual containers which was I was doing months ago. Some kids might take time to get used it to it. Most kids are given sugar intentionally or not every single meal so they are used to things being sweeter than they are in nature. I also let my son pick out whatever raw nuts he wants on top – a little extra on top of the granola to really make it crunchy and lets him think that its a treat. It helps him to feel fuller longer.

      • Stephanie, does the yogurt with the fruit blended in get runny? I’d be worried about waste if I made it all in advance.

    • Elizabeth says

      I’ve come to enjoy the tart of plain yogurt when it’s combined with sweet fruit. I especially like diced apple in plain yogurt (I use the sweet kinds of apples, like Gala, rather than a tart apple like Granny Smith). I eat full-fat yogurt, so I hadn’t known that it’s a bit less tart than low-fat. I just really enjoy it for breakfast these days. I used to love the conventional yogurt cups, but now they taste super sweet and feel like they should be a dessert or treat instead of something I’d eat for breakfast. 🙂

      • Do you cook the apple first or just chop it fine? Curious how you do it.

        • Elizabeth says

          I just chop it and eat it raw. The yogurt is still pretty tart around it, but I like the sweet crunch in contrast. I buy Stoneyfield organic full-fat yogurt at Kroger. Sometimes I add a drizzle of honey if the apple wasn’t as sweet as I was expecting. Usually with a type like Gala, though, I’m good to go.

  9. Tara says

    How do you know how much honey or maple syrup to you in your recipes instead of sugar?

    • Typically equal amounts, minus some of the liquid in the recipe. There is a slight texture difference, but taste is good typically.

  10. Karlee says

    Do uncured meats (salami, bacon,etc…) contain sugar? I know they are more expensive but we choose to buy them for many reasons but now I am curious about sugar content:-)

    • Most salami, bacon, ham have some sugar added during the curing process. I found this out during my Whole 30. The paleo-friendly products are really expensive, so I’ve never bought them. It’s a minor technicality that I’m overlooking for this experiment since it’s so hard to source sugar-free.

  11. autumn says

    I believe that Costco’s low sodium bacon is sugar free.

  12. Megan says

    I loved this! My hubby & I went completely sugar free for a week (no honey or maple syrup) then went low sugar after that (I used sucanat). Breads & condiments were the hardest thing, and of course bacon! Lol. I had to cook EVERYTHING from scratch. I did great with it-lost weight, felt great. Then I got pregnant with #5 & was too tired to keep up all the scratch cooking. When this little one grows a bit I plan to do it again. Looking forward to this series

  13. Heidi C says

    I am so enjoying reading through this! My husband and I finished the whole 30 a few weeks ago and my kids are NOT on board with the changes that have become permanent. Mostly, the reduction in sugar and products that contain sugar. 🙂 I found a recipe for date paste that I use to sweeten things (yogurt, oatmeal) for them and that seems to be “ok”. Slightly cheaper than them going through a bottle of maple syrup every week! 🙂
    I found it’s hard to sustain any large changes for our family as well- the cost and additional time sometimes is not justifiable, especially with us being on the go so much for sports. But I have noticed that on the days I go away from how I had been eating during the W30, I don’t sleep well at ALL. That’s motivation enough for me! 🙂

    • I found out that Bob’s Red Mill makes date Sugar (dates with oats ground up). I’m going to try that, but it’s still pricey. Need to find a good source for dates themselves. We’re a week into it and doing okay. We stumbled a little bit over the weekend with the cured meats and baked goods, but I don’t know how that could be avoided while traveling — without driving myself crazy.

      • Amanda says

        I purchased something that looks like a date loaf at an oriental grocery store. It’s mashed dates, vacuumed sealed in plastic. I think it was 5.99 for 2.5 pounds. Already soft somewhat, easy for bars and such.

  14. Diana says

    Good for you guys! I think the sugar in the cured meats/breads aren’t as big of an issue mentally because they don’t really *taste* sweet. So you’re still achieving part of your goal of retraining your taste buds even if those things happen. You are doing fabulous so far–I’m so impressed! 🙂

    What brand of all-fruit jam do you like? I like to make our own, but I’m tired of buying expensive frozen fruit and pectin and I’d like something to tide us over till strawberry season hits 🙂

    • I have bought St Dalfour and Crofters, both on sale for about less than $3/jar. Do you have any all-fruit jam recipe links? I need to start building my ideas.

      • Diana says

        Well, the short answer is No. 🙂 I should have clarified–I like to make our own jam, so at least I’m avoiding high fructose corn syrup. The only low-sugar stuff I’ve tried is a maple peach butter (which is faaaaabulous! But it doesn’t stand up to peanut-buttered toast, which is normally how we eat jam. Link: http://www.savingbymaking.com/2013/09/maple-peach-butter/)

        I am not sure what the difference is between a fruit butter (where fruits are simmered until much of the water has evaporated away and you’re left with a thick sauce) and all-fruit jam. (Does the jam have pectin in it without any sugar?) Here’s one from the kitchn that I’d like to try: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-basic-fruit-jam-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-193560

        Maybe I’ll pick up a package of no-sugar-needed pectin (which does have some dextrose, I read) and see what happens. 🙂

  15. Erin says

    Maple syrup is $13.99/32 oz for organic at Costco here in the midwest. Works out to 0.4375 cents/oz, if you’re going through a lot of it, that would add up. Honey is the cheapest I’ve found it there as well (we get the organic 3-pack, b/c it’s actually cheaper per oz than the normal.) I use local honey in tea or unheated, but for all baked or cooke goods, we use the Costco.

    • The pricing is similar here at our Costco. I’m starting to plan meals that call for less of it anyway. I guess that’s the best anyway.

      • Erin says

        Can’t wait for some of your updated recipes. We use organic sugar more slowly than honey, but I’d like to limit it to feeding the water kefir (and my husband’s latte – he’d just go to Starbucks if we eliminated that!)

  16. Stacy says

    Jessica – this is so helpful. My 7 yr old’s school has a no sugar policy for lunches. We’ve been slowly figuring out a list of lunch items that pass the test and that he will eat. I will keep trying your recipes to see how they go over.

    • Wow. That seems really strict to me. No sugar at school? How do they possibly police that?

  17. Julie says

    I did the 21 day sugar detox. It was fantastic! Like you, you don’t realize how much stuff has sugar. There is a great ketchup recipe from the book. I think it’s soooo yummy!
    It broke my Splenda habit, so I was happy. I’ll try another detox, Kris Carr’s, then find the best of both because I can’t see going completely vegan.
    Sounds like you’re all doing well on this. Keep up the great updates.

    • So, there’s a vegan movement attached to going sugar-free? What’s the rationale? I’m curious.

      • Julie says

        I don’t know that it’s a movement, but when I was looking for info, I found a challenge group doing a 21 day sugar detox. There was a choice between Diane’s book or Kris Carr. Diane’s is paleo, Kris’ vegan. I’m not a huge meateater so the paleo had it’s own challenges, going 100% vegan doesn’t feel like it suits me (but would be more to my preference) So I have some more work to do. The choices between these two were picked mainly because of the 21 day challenges.
        I did really enjoy trying things with no sugar (of any kind). I was a challenge but more doable than I expected. 🙂
        PS- I think it’s more a sugar-free (reducing intake) movement than vegan or paleo. More like making better decisions, not having a body that’s feeding cancers, etc. (I just got to hear Michael Moss talk and I am looking forward to reading more about it in his book) Information overload is how I feel right now!!

        • Gotcha! I think the great thing about many of these practices (paleo, vegan, whatever) is that they go away from junk/processed and have people cooking more.

          Loving the SSF book, but yes, definitely info overload!

  18. Amanda says

    Just a thought. I get the Plantain Chips at Trader Joes. $1.69 for 8oz bag. I have used them to coat chicken and pork chops. Either bake or fry. Yummy.

    • Interesting. I didn’t super care for the potato chips, so I’m not sure I’ll try it again. But, I have plantain chips in the pantry. I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks!

  19. Sarah B says

    What are good substitutes for cane sugar? I recently discovered I am very intolerant of cane sugar and eggs.

    Honey, maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, and date sugar is what I am aware of…..


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